Thursday, April 4, 2013

Queso Soothes a Teacher's Soul

While student teaching I learned so much about running a classroom and the paperwork of teaching. Equally as important (if not more) I learned about teacher parties. The team I worked with did pot-luck lunches at school a few times a month and happy hours almost as often. We also did birthday lunches for the team members. It was great being part of such a tight group. Several of the veteran teachers were known for a "signature" dish. Being know for a dish was a big deal, and didn't come easily with all of these discerning palette.  I won them over with the last dish I brought. Tasked with bringing an appetizer I immediately knew what to do. I made them my Queso. It was gone in about 5 minutes!

Queso is a staple in Tex-Mex food. If is often made with Velveeta cheese and Ro-tel. But the Velveeta, although delicious, tastes processed. But just making it with cheddar cheese didn't result in a smooth cheese sauce. So what did I do? Combine them! The recipe is not the most exact thing in the world, but a lot depends on the humidity and how thick you like your Queso.

First, gather all of your ingredients. Which of course I didn't take a picture of. :( So just imagine a pic of a large block of White Velvetta, an onion, small block of sharp cheddar cheese, chicken broth, and spices.

Cut up a whole onion. The size of the slice depends on your onion love. I like pieces bigger than a dice and smaller than a slice.

 Throw the onion in a skillet with some oil (or butter) and cook until brown.

While the onion cooks, cut your cheddar cheese into small pieces. I usually cut it into strips the again the other direction. Smaller pieces make it easier to mix in and less stringy. 

Dump the cheddar, half a log of white Velveeta, 1/4 cup of chicken broth, and a can of Ro-tel (with liquid) in a microwave safe dish. Ro-tel is canned tomatoes and jalopenos. If you can't find it in your area, you can mix a can of tomatoes and half a can of jalopenos. 
Microwave at 60% for 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. 

 By now, you should have a lumpy queso. Time to add spices to the party! I like to add pepper, garlic salt, and red pepper. If you don't like spice, skip the red pepper. Start with just a little, then taste it to see if the spice is to your liking (yes, this is a recipe that is telling you to snack on the food!)

Microwave for another 4 minutes, then check again. If it still needs more time, microwave in two minute increments. Then you are done! You can adjust the spices again or if you want a thinner dip, add more chicken broth. 

Grab some chips and dig in! You will be the hit of any teacher party (or any gathering for that matter).  

Again, this is just a base recipe. Feel free to make it your own! Add regular Velveeta instead of blanco. Use pepper jack instead of cheddar. Possibilities are endless! You can also make it in the Crock-pot on low. 

I hope you enjoy this queso! And I am not responsible for you making this three times in the first week. Once you make it you just can't stop! 

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